Spoiler-Free Review of “Cruel Summer” on Freeform: Mean Girls with Bite

*This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!*

“Who do you believe?”

Cruel Summer premiered on Freeform on April 20th 2021. The series is set to air ten weekly episodes. It stars Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, Harley Quinn Smith, Michael Landes, and Froy Gutierrez. Each episode runs for approximately 50 minutes.

The events we witness take place over three summers in the 1990’s as a teen goes missing and another girl mysteriously takes her place.

Here is the trailer:

Cruel Summer adapts a typical teen thriller formula into something different by presenting us with three timelines that jump back and forth. It’s something bold and unique, but does it get in the way of this already entertaining plot? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Cruel Summer Spoiler Free Review 1

Images courtesy of Freeform

Mean Girls meets Single White Female.

Sure, it’s been done before, but this is a formula for success. I really loved this vibe and I was drawn into the plot and mystery completely. I can’t predict what is going on and I am actually really excited to see what happens next.

I also really like that I’m not sure who to root for just yet. The opening two episodes present us with different perspectives and of course things are not as they seem.

The performances are actually pretty on point and I thought that Kevin Smith’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith was really great and I’m excited to see her in this role.

Cruel Summer Spoiler Free Review 2

Images courtesy of Freeform

90’s nostalgia.

Much like Little Fires Everywhere, this show is also bringing us some 90’s nostalgia with the fashion and music soundtrack. I’m not sure it was truly necessary for this show, but it’s an added bonus and I am enjoying the throwback so far.

The Cons:

Cruel Summer Spoiler Free Review 3

Images courtesy of Freeform

Trippy time jumps.

While I appreciate that this show is trying to do something different, the trippy time jumps become really confusing and distracting. I actually think that the show is really good without these flashes every few minutes and while the actresses do a great job of reminding us which Jeanette and Kate we are dealing with, my head started to hurt after a while.

So am I in or out?

Cruel Summer Spoiler Free Review 4

Images courtesy of Freeform

I’m in!

Even with the trippy time jumps, this show is really addicting. I think that it might quickly become one of my favorite shows and I am really excited to see the mystery unfold over the next several weeks.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Cruel Summer in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!


Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl


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A harmless night of fun turns deadly for six college friends but the game has only just begun. Take a mystery thrill ride right from your own living room. Dash and Seek is out now!

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Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

I live in Long Island, NY. I am obsessed with TV, movies, reading and writing! My top TV shows are Lost, Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Prison Break, Charmed, Veronica Mars, and Beverly Hills 90210. My dog, Honey, loves TV too!

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